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 Vintage2001 Label 1 of 30 
ProducerLe Vieux Donjon (web)
VarietyRed Rhone Blend
SubRegionSouthern Rhône

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2007 and 2017 (based on 52 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 91.9 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 315 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by drwine2001 on 3/27/2015: Light ruby. Like other recent bottles, all garrigue aromatics. Medium weight. The crisp acidity of the vintage shows. Actually, the black fruit blossomed with air, although this is mainly about vegetal, non-fruit driven flavors. I thought this was better than bottles I drank in 2013 and 2014. Perhaps it is getting a second wind-or maybe not. (1173 views)
 Tasted by LemurKing on 3/5/2015 & rated 91 points: Tastes very nice. It's hitting its apex at this point, but still on the early side. Let it sit for an hour or so after decanting and it started to develop nicely. Enjoy now and for 5 years. (1213 views)
 Tasted by rocknroller on 2/15/2015 & rated 94 points: Monthly Tasting Group: CDP's and Southern Rhones (Meritage, St. Paul): Very dark red color. Decanted for 90 minutes. Drank a small pour over 15 minutes. Great nose again, lots garrigue and damp earth, wow nose, perfumed, floral. The palate has elegance, depth, integrated tannins, dark red fruits, and a garrigue infused finish. Lovely, just a tad of heat shows at times. (1439 views)
 Tasted by Longnose Gar on 2/1/2015 & rated 92 points: Bricking red. Typical Vieux Donjon style. Strong Grenache and minerals. Drinking well now. (1356 views)
 Tasted by beatles on 1/31/2015 & rated 93 points: Dinner at Peter & Susannes new house (Charlottenlund): My fourth bottle of this, and it continues to show well, a very classic, very old school neuf, very typical of Vieux Donjon, and while some 2001's still can be hard to approach due to the concentration, this is open for business from the beginning, embracing you and bringing you back to Provence - parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme. And of course plenty of sweet Grenache. Good now, will keep 10 years. With P&S, in DK. (1348 views)
 Tasted by pbaek on 1/23/2015: Brought from Niels' cellar. In great condition. More rustic and old-school compared to the two Pignan's. Very well contained with that 2001 structure and freshness. Provençal spices and darker toned red fruit on the palate. Great wine, especially on day 2. With Niels and Anne Dorthe at home. (1149 views)
 Tasted by Ridgerunner on 1/8/2015 & rated 93 points: Requires decanting, but really hitting that sweet spot! (1236 views)
 Tasted by Ridgerunner on 1/1/2015 & rated 92 points: This has that wonderful older rhone quality, copper color notes, and a wonderful barnyard nose! (1006 views)
 Tasted by SonnyChiba on 12/30/2014 & rated 91 points: Very classic CDP style. Old, rustic, with subtle fruits and a lot of stink. (972 views)
 Tasted by La Cave d'Argent on 12/30/2014 & rated 94 points: From a pristinely-cellared bottle, this medium garnet Châteauneuf shows an intense nose of red plums, sous bois, fig, cocoa and anise. Medium-bodied, freshly acidic and with light residual tannins, it delivers flavors which mirror the nose. The alcohol (listed as 13.5%) is seamless and the middle palate is packed. Concluding long and smooth, this wine is simply a joy to drink. Well-cellared bottles will make their owners very happy at this point. Drink now-2017. (1036 views)
 Tasted by Bill Bucklew on 12/27/2014 & rated 91 points: Similar to the last bottle, a bit more muted in the nose as well as the palate, but still very balanced and elegant between fruit and secondary. (915 views)
 Tasted by FransS on 12/17/2014 & rated 86 points: Not spectacular, a bit simple. (1010 views)
 Tasted by John Nezlek on 12/10/2014 & rated 87 points: This is the second bottle of this wine I have had, and it is the second time I have been (somewhat) disappointed. Clearly not in the 90s as others have described it. I think I may have gotten a bad set of bottles or something. The wine was good, but not that rich or flavorful. Oh well. (937 views)
 Tasted by kanjimoti on 11/26/2014 & rated 93 points: The '01 Vieux Donjon is singing on this day. I planned to decant but right out of the bottle the wine is so balanced and beautiful with perfectly ripe dark red fruit, soil, a smoky, creosote character that reminds me of a fine Scotch, and an overall sense this is in a perfect place right now. I'm tasting the '01 a week after immensely enjoying the '00. Based on the two bottles I tasted I'll say the '01 is the better wine; it's more balanced and more complex. Upon opening, smelling, and tasting I immediately went online to see who has more; the least expensive I could find is $65 in San Carlos, Ca. If you have that kind of money for a bottle of Chateauneuf I would instead spend a bit more for the Beaucastel, a wine experience that will move you more deeply. Anyway, on the palate the Donjon is so pleasing with just the right amount of grip left on the tannins alongside that creosote and beautiful fruit. The finish is rustic, gritty, and invigorating. There's a lot of sediment here so I have a feeling Domaine Vieux Donjon does not filter their juice. I love it. This is in such a good place right now I would hate for anyone to miss this experience so I'll suggest drinking by winter 2016 but it should sail nicely into 2018. An afternote on the Beaucastel; I'm all for the '01 Donjon and if you can afford both do it but if there's room financially for one then do the Beaucastel. Two days after we were told Panda is going to Boston. I'm sad but it's time for a change for everybody. Change keeps us on our toes and is the nature of life. (1251 views)
 Tasted by Loren Sonkin on 11/16/2014 & rated 94 points: A bunch of CdP on a Saturday Afternoon (Loretta Paganini School fo Cooking): Drinking very well and close to peak IMO. The nose has dark cherries, raspberries and boysenberries. Also some spice. On the palate, it drinks younger than the nose. Great juicy texture. Lots of boysenberry and dark cherry fruit. Some spice. Layers of complexity come out as it unwinds in the glass. Long finish. No seeming hurry but worth checking on for sure. (1566 views)
 Tasted by behm0027 on 11/15/2014 & rated 90 points: On the nose, barnyard, dark fruit, tobacco, and leather. Additional dark fruit on the palate, along with graphite/pencil lead, and tobacco. Medium bodied, still enough acidity to keep it in check. Drinking well right out of the bottle. (1177 views)
 Tasted by drwine2001 on 11/6/2014: Garnet color. As it has been over the past few years, much more complex garrigue, with a panoply of herbal tones, than fruit. Medium weight, some cherry drop, licorice, and a boatload of menthol, mint, and thyme. Very crisp acidity and minerality underneath. Not great, but still appealing in an old style Chateauneuf way. What is interesting is that it has hung in there at this level rather than deteriorating as I feared when I tasted this in 2013. A far cry from the ripe, alcoholic structure of post-2005 vintages, although Vieux Donjon tends to the more discrete, restrained side of things anyway. (1441 views)
 Tasted by Wine Canuck on 10/4/2014 & rated 90 points: Year 2 - Super Tasting 4 of 5 - Chris does 2001 Chateauneuf-du-Pape: (tasted blind, wine #10) Again this has a touch of sulfur initially. After that somewhat blew off the nose reveals caper, white pepper, brine, purple fruit, dark cherry liquor, blackberry with a slightly candied edge and asphalt. Very middle of the road stylistically; the fruit is bright and ripe, but there is also some pleasant secondary character. Unfortuantely the palate lets this down a bit with an astringent, bitter element and a short finish. Didn't seem to improve much in the glass as it was followed for over an hour. (1301 views)
 Tasted by Dave Canada on 10/4/2014 & rated 89 points: Year 2 - Super Tasting 4 of 5 - Chris does 2001 Southern Rhone (Dundas, Ontario): Double decanted 1 hour ahead of service. Served blind
Nose was reduced initially but it blew off to reveal faint notes of tar, asphalt, and cherry fruit...some sulphur notes lingering
The palate shows tar, cherry, herbs and brine but is hollow and out of balance.
Finish is simple and shows some heat. (1167 views)
 Tasted by KenK on 9/28/2014 & rated 93 points: Really in a great place, dark earthy black cherry profile with pretty dense middle fruit and nice supporting acidity. Very well balanced and showing lovely herb de Provance spice quakity. Smooth and seamless. Maybe 94 points. Really great stuff. In oerfect drinking window now. (1278 views)
 Tasted by Burgundy Al on 9/28/2014 & rated 93 points: Wine Enjoyed with Food Prepared on the Big Green Egg (Chez Shaffer - Highland Park IL): At an excellent point in its evolutionary development. Mature, ripe black fruit with lots of earthy elements. Moderate spice. Very good acidity and tannins give this structure and balance while showing lots of nuance. (1728 views)
 Tasted by godx on 9/27/2014 & rated 90 points: Decanted for two hours and needed more. At first it had almost a brownish red colour and was a bit thin/disjointed on the palate. As it sat in the decanter it began to flesh out and become fresher. Overall a good drink but not as good as previous bottles. I think this still needs a few years. Excellent. (1252 views)
 Tasted by rocknroller on 9/20/2014 & rated 93 points: Siggy's BBQ Featuring a Trio of 2001 La La's and a Bevy of 2001 CDP's (Siggy & Jenny's Place, Mpls, MN): Small pour. This was excellent again, but didn't rock quite to the extent as the last bottle. Lots of dark fruit, kirsch, garrigue, spice. 93+pts. (1367 views)
 Tasted by bajayngo on 8/29/2014: Man this stuff is so good with some age on it! Right out the gate it was rocking with notes of graphite, barnyard, mature red fruits, iron, orange peel, incense, olives for days on a focus frame and a laserbeam of deliciousness on the palate! (1338 views)
 Tasted by Vinsant on 8/17/2014: The 99-01 DJ's have consistently been my fav classic styled cdps. Everything you want and expect is there. Blinded I was actually leaning N Rhone on this because of the sharp acidity, olives, and ash. But the bright red strawberry note should have had me thinking South. Underbrush, fresh and dried herbs, iron, meat juice, light citrus note, and tapenade all rounded out by a long finish. Nothing too ripe, no prunes...yeah! I really hope the newer vintages age like this! (1353 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Jeb Dunnuck
The Rhone Report, Delving into the Languedoc Roussillon, Issue #7 (3/28/2011)
(Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape) Login and sign up and see review text.   95 points
By Jeb Dunnuck
The Rhone Report, Back to France, Issue #3 (2/1/2010)
(Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape) Login and sign up and see review text.   95 points
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, January/Febuary 2004, IWC Issue #112
(Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, January/February 2003, IWC Issue #106
(Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (3/24/2012)
(Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape) Bricking medium dark ruby color; caramel, milk chocolate, tart beets nose; garrigue, tart beets, horseradish, baked plum palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points  92 points
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (11/26/2010)
(Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape) Very dark red violet color; nice, complex, tart berry, tart blackberry, herbes de provence nose; tasty, rich, tart black fruit, tart plum, mineral, herbs, licorice palate; medium-plus finish (one of the best bottles I've ever tasted from this producer)  95 points
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (7/8/2009)
(Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape) Medium bricking red violet color with pale meniscus; tobacco, earthy, clove nose with a touch of brett; brett, roasted plum, cherry, clove, bark, horseradish and mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts.  92 points
By Lyle Fass
Rockss and Fruit (6/1/2007)
(Le Vieux Donjon) This was good, classically structured CDP but altogether boring for me. Kind of hot but very minerally and pure.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (9/6/2003)
(Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape) Beet, meaty nose; tasty, meaty, garrigue palate with firm tannins; medium-plus finish 92+ pts.  92 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of The Rhone Report and Vinous and RJonWine.com and Rockss and Fruit. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Le Vieux Donjon

Producer website - Read more about Le Vieux Donjon

http://www.ultimatewineshop.com 9/2012
Le Vieux Donjon, as it exists today, was created in 1979 with the marriage of Lucien and Marie Jose Michel. Both Lucien and Marie Jose's parents owned vineyards in the region, and those holdings were combined to form Le Vieux Donjon. The domaine covers fourteen hectares of vineyards (all farmed organically), thirteen planted to red grapes and one planted to white. The Michel's holdings are primarily in the North and Northwest of the appellation, but they also have small plots in the Southwest and East. Their most important parcel is Pialons, and the grapes from the 2008 come from that parcel as well as those in Cabrieres, Bois de Boursan, Les Marines and Le Mourre de Gaude. The soils are mainly limestone and clay, and are studded with the famed galets roule, the round, rust-colored stones which were left behind after the retreat of the Alpine glaciers which once covered the region. Now that Lucien Michel has inched his way into retirement, his young daughter, Claire, who did an apprenticeship at Napa's Harlan Estate, is in full control of the winemaking (another example of a woman who has taken charge of a famous estate). Remington Norman in Rhone Renaissance says of Donjon, "The style of the wines is unashamedly, 'traditionelle' – vins de garde with plenty of backbone and muscle to them. However, these are no clumsy blockbusters, but wines with real definition and elegance underneath powerful exteriors…These are well-constituted wines with great depth and extract, which manage to retain finesse." The secret to the success of Le Vieux Donjon is really no secret at all. They have tremendously old vines (many in excess of 80 years of age) and they are experts at picking only once the grapes have achieved optimum ripeness.

Red Rhone Blend

Read about the different grapes used to produce red and white Rhone wines
On CellarTracker, Red Rhone Blend is the term for a wine consisting of two or more of the traditional 13 Southern Rhone grape varieties. Typically it's the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre or Cinsault grapes, but can also contain the Muscardin, Counoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan or Vaccarese grapes.

A 'food' wine. Lacking pretension and intended for local consumption with local cuisine. Lacks the 'high' notes on a Bordeaux, more earthy and sharper so often a better partner to meat dishes with a sauce.


Vins de France (Office National Interprofessionnel des Vins ) | Pages Vins, Directory of French Winegrowers | French Wine (Wikipedia)


Guide to the wines, wineries and appellations in the Rhone Valley The Rhône Valley/Le Vins de la Vallée du Rhône (Comité Interprofession des vins AOC Côtes et vallée du Rhône)

Southern Rhône

Guide to the wines, wineries and appellations in the Southern Rhone Valley

WA: 2011 88R / 2010 98T / 2009 93E/ 2008 86R / 2007 98E / 2006 92R / 2005 95T / 2004 88R / 2003 90I / 2002 58C / 2001 96T / 2000 98E

### 2005 ###
In southern Rhone, 2005 was a below average sized crop, because of continuing drought and the fact that there are so many old vineyards where low yields are the rule of thumb even in an abundant year. While 2005 is truly an excellent vintage in the south, I do not believe it is a compellingly great vintage, because it has more in common with beefed up, improved version of 1995 than with what I consider an irrefutably great vintage like 1998, 2001 or even 2000. Certainly the wines have plenty of structure and possess fresher, more vibrant acidities than most years provide. The top wines also display impressive levels of concentration. However all the 2005s tend to reveal a certain firmness, and if the grapes were picked too soon, or the vinification/upbringing were not carefully handled, there is a toughness and austerity to the tannins that ultimately will prove to be problematic. Nevertheless, there is an ocean of top wines.

### 2007 ###
The 2007 vintage in Southern France was wonderful. Here is what controversial Robert M. Parker (Wine Advocate Issue 179) said about it, “Throughout the southern Rhône, 2007 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in my thirty years working in that region. I think of 2007 as a hypothetical blend of an opulent, powerful, sumptuous year such as 1990, and a cooler draught vintage such as 2001. The cool weather and the remarkable three weeks of Mistral in September that concentrated the grapes without any spikes of high heat appears to have given the 2007s an aromatic dimension and freshness that I have rarely witnessed. Combine that with wines that are substantial, powerful, and relatively high in alcohol, with super depth of fruit! These are very aromatic wines of great concentration, freshness, laser-like focus, and amazing purity as well as depth. It is the vintage of my lifetime for this region, and I don’t say that lightly.”

### 2010 ###
Robert Parker, on the 2010 vintage:
"Some producers think 2010 eclipses 2007 because of the wines' vivid freshness and focus. Throughout the southern Rhône, the hallmarks of the vintage are very dense purple, sometimes even blue/black colors as well as higher acid levels that have not been seen since 2004 and 2001. In fact, 2010's paradox is that I can't remember a vintage so concentrated, powerful and rich that also has such zesty acidity. The 2010s will have significant aging potential, which is obvious in the level of tannins, but the tannins are sweet with exceptional elegance and finesse. The ratio of high extractive and phenolic skins to the juice has produced wines of extraordinary intensity, freshness, aromatic potential and obvious longevity. This is another great vintage that offers an embarrassment of riches for this region that has enjoyed a succession of extraordinary years."

### 2011 ###
- "has most Rhône vintners exceedingly optimistic for a third straight outstanding year…" -Wine Spectator
- "fans of fruit-forward, accessible wines will find plenty to like from '11, which looks to be an ideal candidate for restaurants as well as for wine lovers…" -Stephen Tanzer
- “we have got 2011 which is a combination of these two great vintages." -Michel Chapoutier on how 2011 is a combination of the 2009 and 2010 vintage
- The 2011 Southern Rhone Region was Rated 89-92 by Wine Spectator's Vintage Chart!

(By Wine Spectator
2011 Vintage Report: France
A first look at vintage quality in French wine regions, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers
Posted: November 14, 2011
Rhône Valley
The 2011 harvest has most Rhône vintners exceedingly optimistic for a third straight outstanding year, though a handful rued some late rains and heat that blemished what could have been a perfect growing season.

By Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
2011 and 2010 Southern Rhone Wines
By Josh Raynolds
Jan/Feb 2013
"...fans of fruit-forward, accessible wines will find plenty to like from '11, which looks to be an ideal candidate for restaurants as well as for wine lovers who lack the facilities or patience for long-term storage.
Fans of graceful, fruit-driven Rhone wines will find plenty to like from 2011 and, as was the case in 2008, 2006 and 2004…"

By vitabella.fr
Michel Chapoutier on 2011 in Rhone Valley: A detailed Early Report
26 Octobre 2011
The tastings of the 2011 vintage have recently given an opportunity for Michel Chapoutier to give his first impressions of the quality of this vintage for the appellations of the Rhone Valley. Prior to the presentation of each appellation, he noted that "after a warm and sunny 2009 vintage that resulted in the exuberance of grape varieties, 2010 was a fresher year with slow maturities which generally gave tense wines - to those who were able to wait for the phenolic maturity - some mineral wines, elegant with an outward expression of the soil, we have got 2011 which is a combination of these two great vintages. "
"This 2011 harvest in Rhone Valley was both early and late: a real paradox!"

By Wine Spectator’s Vintage Chart
Southern Rhone
Vintage: 2011
Score: 89-92
Drink Rec: NYR
Description: Warm spring, but cool, wet weather in July and August led to uneven ripening; Indian summer saved the vintage. Grenache is light, but Syrah and Mourvèdre strong, so blending key; there will be some excellent wines, but heterogenous from domaine to domaine.)


Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation - Read more about Chateauneuf du Pape

Another site on this appellation
Vineyards on weinlagen-info

"As I have written many times in the past, the sweet spot for drinking Châteauneuf du Papes is usually the first 5-6 years after the vintage. Then they seem to go through an adolescent, awkward, and sometimes dormant stage, only to re-emerge around year 10-12, where the majority of wines are often fully mature. The best of them will continue to hold on to life (but rarely improving) beyond 15-20 years. It is only the exceptional Châteauneuf du Papes that will evolve for 20-25+ years, and those are indeed a rarity. However, things may be improving dramatically in terms of the longevity of Châteauneuf du Pape, although Grenache-dominated wines, the vast majority of wines produced in the appellation, are wines that do not have the polyphenol (extract and tannin) content of top Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, or Syrah-based wines. Nevertheless, the younger generation in Châteauneuf du Pape has taken seriously the farming in the vineyards. There are more organic and biodynamically run vineyards here than in any other appellation of France. The yields, which were already low, are even lower today (20-35 hectoliters per hectare), and of course, the proliferation of top luxury and/or old-vine cuvées gives a significant boost to the number of wines that will evolve past 25 or 30 years. The advantage of these wines is their broad window of drinkability." ( Robert Parker )

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